October 28th, 2009 | Published in Google Public Policy
In our response today to the FCC's inquiry about Google Voice, we announced that our engineers have developed a tailored solution for restricting calls to specific numbers engaged in what some have called high-cost "traffic pumping" schemes, like adult chat and "free" conference call lines.
We went to work on this fix because earlier this year, we noticed an extremely high number of calls were being made to an extremely small number of destinations. In fact, the top 10 telephone prefixes -- the area code plus the first three digits of a seven digit number, e.g., 555-555-XXXX -- generated more than 160 times the expected traffic volumes, and accounted for a whopping 26 percent of our monthly connection costs.
To prevent these schemes from exploiting the free nature of Google Voice -- making it harder for us to offer this new service to users -- we began restricting calls to certain telephone number prefixes. But over the past few weeks, we've been looking at ways to do this on a more granular level. We told the FCC today that Google Voice now restricts calls to fewer than 100 specific phone numbers, all of which we have good reason to believe are engaged in traffic pumping schemes.
While we've developed a fix to address this problem, the bottom line is that we still believe the Commission needs to repair our nation's broken carrier compensation system. The current system simply does not serve consumers well and these types of schemes point up the pressing need for reform.